Best Reads


Pink Lemonade Diary (Pink Lemonade Memories) by Juliette Hill

Surprises await thirteen year old Vicki Gray, as her summer vacation begins with an unexpected twist.  Having to spend two weeks with her great-aunt Mary on an island off the coast of Georgia, she experiences a lifestyle very different from her own in tech-savvy Manhattan.  As she discovers first adventure and then love, Vicki realizes that change isn’t always bad, and that renewing family bonds can create lasting memories which transcend generations.  From internationally known author, Juliette Hill, you won’t want to miss this one!


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This week I am once again turning to the classics for those of you who are building a library for both your own and your children’s reading pleasure.  Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden was first published as a complete book in 1911.  The story of Mary Lennox, her cousin, Colin, and their friend, Dickon, was a favorite of my childhood, and I read it through every few years to this day.  Can you wonder that I read it aloud to my son’s as well?  If you have never read this charming book, do!  If you have not yet shared it with your children, definitely do!


Wilde’s Fire – Book One – Darkness Falls by Krystal Wade

This one is a real change of pace for Best Reads, and you’re almost hearing it here first! Krystal Wade, a young mother of three who sometimes writes as she road warriers her way back and forth the 50 miles to and from her “day job,” has written an action-packed young adult fantasy novel that you simply won’t want to miss.  Currently, only available through, the book will soon be available in a print version as well for those of you who refuse to bow to the ereader.  Sometimes a newer, younger talent just gets it right, and this is definitely one of those times.  Wade is destined to be an overnight wonder, but believe me, this gal has paid her dues.  Don’t start to read this one as you’re going to bed, you’ll have a very tired day waiting ahead!


Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn

Also available in print, at Smashwords, and for Apple, SonyReader, and NOOK!

Okay, I’m shameless, but I dare you to try to solve this one!

Chocolate always makes things better, or so Emily Harris believes until even a dozen boxes of her favorite chocolates can’t put her world back together.  Returning home from a trip to New Orleans, she is pushed down the airport’s arrival escalator, and despite evidence to the contrary, she believes the push was deliberate.  If this weren’t enough her lawyer husband begins to act strangely, her oldest son brings a tramp home as his girlfriend, and two friends are murdered.   Simple sayings from her childhood thread their way through her thoughts as she struggles to identify the common denominator, even as she is confined to her home, munching on chocolates.


Annie Acorn


You Might As Well Die: An Algonquin Round Table Mystery by J. J. Murphy

Once again, best selling author J. J. Murphy has delivered!  Meticulously researched, the reader can hear Dorothy Parker’s fine wit reflected in the author’s own words, as Ms. Parker leads the Algonquin Round Table set on another merry romp through 1920’s New York in search of a killer.  This time the famous magician, Harry Houdini, is drawn into the fray, as J. J. deftly draws the story to a thrilling conclusion.  You won’t want to put this one down!


Twenty Wishes (Blossom Street) by Debbie Macomber

This is not the first time that I have featured one of Debbie Macomber’s books on my Best Reads page, but this is not a new release.  As I’ve stated before on my site, I am not even a devoted reader of the romance genre, but I am addicted to Ms. Macomber’s Blossom Street series.  The story, skillfully crafted as is all of this author’s work, is excellent in and of itself just as the romance it was intended to be.  Still, this particular book – the first one of the author’s books that I read – did something that I would never have expected.  I found it life changing, as I will explain more fully in this week’s blog post.  Now, I ask you, doesn’t a book that has done that deserve to be called a Best Read?


Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson

I LOVE this book!  In fact, I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed reading a book more, which says a lot for a debut novel.  It’s like riding a cloud on a summer’s day, as you are carried along by Ms. Simonson’s carefully crafted story.  Youth versus age, tradition versus change, ostentation versus humility, pride versus prejudice, they are all there, along with laughter and love and just a tinge of sadness for those long loved, but now lost.  Don’t wait a second more!  Treat yourself to this one!!!


One Last Gift to Go by Annie Acorn

Also available for NOOK!

Okay, I admit it.  I’m shameless, but I can’t help it.  This is my favorite of the Christmas stories that I have written, as it harkens back to times past that I hold dear.

Children aren’t the same as kittens, Miss Mary Mason is reminded when she volunteers to keep two orphans in her home through Christmas.  Ragged and dirty, their manners leave much to be desired as they are introduced to a world that is way beyond even their extensive powers of imagination.  I hope that you, too, will enjoy this story of the far-reaching power of love!


The Best Worst Christmas Ever by peggy teel

When Jamey Strangeblood chooses Uncle Ophir’s name in the annual family drawing for Christmas gifts, he’s sure that this will be his worst Christmas ever. Money is tight, and options are few. Once again Ms. Teel spins a delightful tale that will keep you wondering how things will work themselves out right up to another of her signature endings. This is a special story of love and family, and the wonders they can produce, beautifully told by one of my favorite authors!


A Suburban Epiphany by Jean Bascom

There is nothing like a sighting of a bright new star shooting across the cosmos, except possibly reading a new story by a promising young author.  A founding member of From Women’s Pens, Ms. Bascom demonstrates her professionalism by immediately drawing the reader in, as he or she joins three young men in a subway car on their way to attend a Christmas party/baby shower in the suburbs.  One of them hopes to rekindle an old flame.  Will he succeed, and if so, at what cost?  Well, you’ll just have to read the story and find out, won’t you?


Aunt Dimity’s Death (Aunt Dimity Mystery)

Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton is another old favorite, but how can you not like a book that combines mystery, romance, and gentle fantasy as it makes the fairy stories of your childhood seem to come true?  Besides, any book that begins with the dedication, For the Handsome Prince, and ends with a recipe for oatmeal cookies can’t be all bad.  Others have called Aunt Dimity’s Death one of the best mysteries of the 20th century, and for sheer enjoyment, I would have to agree.


The Hoosier School-Master (Library of Indiana Classics) by Edward Eggleston

This is one of the original YA novels and has been a cherished classic since the late 1800s.  A Hoosier myself, I’ve known this book all of my life, and I reread it at least once every five years or so.  Likened to Tom Sawyer, the book outlines the adventures of the new schoolmaster, who has been brought to teach students in a rural community’s one room schoolhouse.  Time after time, Ralph Hartsook uses his brains to overcome those who are made up primarily of brawn.  It’s David against Goliath all over again with a twist, and it’s one of my all time favorites.  Give it a try.  You won’t regret it!


The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L. C. Tyler

I LOVE this series of mysteries by English author L. C. Tyler.  These well-plotted who-done-its are enhanced by Tyler’s dry wit, which runs through his stories like a strong thread.  Written from the perspective of two main characters – mystery writer, Ethelred Tressider and his chocolate-craving agent, Elsie – the interplay between the two will keep you in stitches until you reach Tyler’s often surprising ending.


The Provincial Lady in London by E. M. Delafield

This is a reread of one of my favorite authors.  Described by others during her lifetime as a modern day Jane Austen, Ms. Delafield was a prolific writer of lighthearted prose in which she poked gentle fun at all those around her.  You can’t help but love her as her personality shows through her work, and the fact that her neighbors, family, and friends still spoke to her further attests to this fact.  I think of her as a long time friend, and I continue over the years to read myself back through all of her books.


The Private World of Georgette Heyer by Jane Aiken Hodge

Years after her death, Georgette Heyer continues to make the New York Times Bestseller List with both her mysteries and her Regency romances.  Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers were both fans.  A prolific writer, she authored more than fifty novels, while maintaining a very private personal life.  Jane Aiken Hodge has provided us all a glimpse behind the curtain in this well-researched and well-received biography of a cherished author.


A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber

I am not a great reader of romances, but I admit to an addiction to Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series.  Usually set in Seattle, Washington, near Ms. Macomber’s hometown, this newest book in the series draws on a cross-country drive to Florida that the author takes with her husband each year.  A must read for anyone wanting to experience a true master of the genre.


Murder Your Darlings: Algonquin Round Table Mystery by J. J. Murphy

This is a first book by a very promising author, but you would never guess it.  Skillfully weaving real characters from history – Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and William (Billy) Faulkner to name a few – through the well-plotted mystery, J. J. keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.  Certainly, a best read!


The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

This is arguably Georgette Heyer’s best regency romance.  I have long enjoyed her mysteries, but I’ve only recently discovered her romances, as I’m not a great reader of such offerings.  Heyer, though, has become an addiction, and it’s no wonder.  Almost 40 years after her death, her books are still making it onto the New York Times Bestseller List.  Christie, Sayers, and Allingham were some of her most ardent fans.  Who knows?  You might just become one, too.

6/29/11 –

Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making by John Currin

This was a great read.  All of my life I had heard that Christie was the ultimate plot guru, and it was fascinating to learn how she actually plotted her books.  A must read for anyone who is thinking about writing a mystery.

6/22/11 –

GOD & GRANDMA by Alabama author, Peggy Teel.

“This collection of God sightings will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone,” says the blurb on the back of this wonderful collection of stories.

It certainly warmed my heart and tickled my funny bone, as it filled me with joy.  I highly recommend this book to all of my readers.

2 Responses to Best Reads

  1. Kelly Gamble says:

    Murder Your Darlings sounds like one for me! Thanks, Annie, I appreciate the short recommendations over the long reviews.
    Kelly Gamble recently posted..Hoover Dam Stories: The Jumbo RigMy Profile

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